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10/10/2014 - Catholic Church Files Civil Rights Complaint Against State Over Abortion Mandate
California's Catholic leaders have filed a civil rights complaint with the Department of Health and Human Services over a recent decision by the state to mandate that religiously affiliated universities there offer full abortion coverage in their employees' health care plans. Earlier this year, the California Lawyer learned that despite the state's commitment to fully protect comprehensive reproductive rights, two Catholic universities - Loyola Marymount and Santa Clara - had discontinued coverage for "not medically necessary" abortion services for their employees....

10/9/2014 - Staff at Immigration Center Accused of Sexually Abusing Women Detainees
Several civil rights organizations have filed a complaint against a privately run detention center in Texas, citing widespread allegations of sexual abuse and harassment. Last week, attorneys from the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF), the Immigration Rights and Civil Rights Clinics at the University of Texas Law School, Human Rights First, and the Law Office of Javier N....

10/9/2014 - UPDATE: Supreme Court Justice Delays Marriage Equality in Idaho
Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy halted a decision Wednesday that would have allowed same sex couples to marry in Idaho. The Justice issued a one-page order requiring the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals to delay a Tuesday ruling striking down Idaho's same-sex marriage ban and calling them unconstitutional until either Kennedy or the full Supreme Court weighed in....

10/8/2014 - Marriage Equality Set to Take Hold in 35 States Following Court Rulings
Following the US Supreme Court's decision Monday to decline review of three federal appeals courts' decisions striking down same-sex marriage bans in five states, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals on Tuesday struck down same-sex marriage bans in Idaho and Nevada, bringing the number of states in which same-sex marriage bans are effectively null and void to 35. Monday's decision by the Supreme Court immediately expanded the number of states were same-sex marriage is legal from 19 to 24....

10/8/2014 - Georgetown University Administrators Apologize for Shutting Down H*yas for Choice Protest
Georgetown University has formally apologized to students and alumni following a university police response to an off-campus H*yas for Choice protest last week that sparked outrage. On September 22, the Georgetown Department of Public Safety (DPS) forced the H*yas for Choice to relocate from an off-campus sidewalk, where they were "quietly presenting an alternative view" to the school's decision to grant an honorary degree to Washington, DC Archbishop Donald Wuerl....

10/7/2014 - Texas Providers Ask Supreme Court to Block Restrictive Abortion Law
Reproductive health care providers in Texas have asked the US Supreme Court to block enforcement of unnecessary, harmful abortion restrictions in Texas that have closed all but eight of the state's abortion clinics overnight. The Center for Reproductive Rights, on behalf of the health care providers, filed an emergency application with Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia after Thursday's decision by the US Circuit Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit to allow the immediate enforcement of two provisions - the ambulatory surgical center and admitting privileges requirements - of the Texas omnibus anti-abortion law, HB 2. Before the enactment of HB2, Texas had 44 abortion clinics....

10/6/2014 - Religious Leaders Unite in Tennessee and Colorado to Oppose Extreme Anti-Abortion Ballot Measures
Local religious leaders have come together to denounce ballot measures in Tennessee and Colorado that, if passed, would jeopardize access to abortion in those states. At Sunday services last week, local clergy from Southern Baptist, Assemblies of God, United Pentecostal, Presbyterian and Free Will Baptist churches, as well as leaders of other faiths, spoke out against Tennessee's Amendment 1, which would allow the government to interfere with women's personal health decisions....

10/6/2014 - Experts Recommend IUDs and Contraceptive Implants for Sexually Active Teenagers
Last week, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) suggested sexually active teenagers use contraceptive implants and intrauterine devices (IUDs) over other forms of birth control. This is the first time the AAP has suggested pediatricians recommend long-acting reversible contraceptive methods (LARCs) such as IUDs and implants before recommending other, less-effective forms of birth control to sexually active teens....

10/3/2014 - Federal Appeals Court Blocks Access to Abortion in Texas
The state of Texas lost all but eight of its abortion clinics overnight after the US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit ruled that the state could begin enforcing unnecessary and harmful abortion restrictions passed as part of Texas's omnibus anti-abortion bill, HB 2, last year....

10/3/2014 - White House Releases Updated Title IX Guidance on Campus Sexual Assault
As part of the "It's On Us" campaign to end campus sexual assault by changing campus culture, the White House has released guidance to assist with enforcement of institutional Title IX policies. The documents released include a "Guide to Drafting a Sexual Assault Policy," "Definitions of Key Terms in Sexual Misconduct Policies," the "Role of Title IX Coordinator," and how to include "Interim and Supportive Measures for Victims." All education institutions in the United States that receive federal funding must adhere to Title IX policies....

10/3/2014 - Federal Appeals Court Blocks Access to Abortion in Texas
The state of Texas lost all but eight of its abortion clinics overnight after the US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit ruled that the state could begin enforcing unnecessary and harmful abortion restrictions passed as part of Texas's omnibus anti-abortion bill, HB 2, last year....

10/3/2014 - UN Speaks Out Against Islamic State Attacks on Women
The United Nations last week condemned the brutal killings of women by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), also know as ISIS. In a recent attack, Sameera Salih Ali Al-Nuaimya, a well-known lawyer and women's rights activist, was publicly executed by a masked firing squad in Mosul....

10/2/2014 - Court Reinstates Same Day Voter Registration in North Carolina
A federal appeals court blocked North Carolina's effort to end same-day voter registration and out-of-precinct voting - methods disproportionately used by minority voters - overturning a decision by a lower court just last month. In a 2-1 decision issued yesterday, the US Circuit Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit found that these provisions of H.B....

10/2/2014 - Virginia Health Commissioner Recommends Amending State TRAP Law
Virginia Commissioner of Health Dr....

10/1/2014 - Afghanistan and US Finalize Bilateral Security Agreement
In a nationally televised ceremony at the Presidential Palace just one day after President Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai took office, Afghanistan signed a major security agreement with the United States....

9/30/2014 - Georgetown Alumni Call Out University for Not Allowing Reproductive Rights Protests
Over 200 Georgetown University alumni have sent a letter to university President John J....

9/30/2014 - US Supreme Court Shuts Down First Week of Early Voting in Ohio
Less than 24 hours before the start of Ohio's would-be voting period, the Supreme Court blocked efforts to restore a full seven days of early voting in the state, marking a win for the Republican-controlled legislature that enacted the new voting restrictions. The Supreme Court's order offered no opinion or explanation, but Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Sonia Sotomayor, Elena Kagan, and Stephen Breyer would have ruled differently....

9/29/2014 - Hope for Afghan Women as New President is Sworn In
Ashraf Ghani, who has publicly and consistently stated his support for women's rights and women's participation in government, was sworn in as the new President of Afghanistan today at the Presidential Palace in Kabul. Over 1000 national and international guests attended the ceremony, including high-ranking officials from the United Nations and 34 countries and a delegation from the United States....

9/29/2014 - Civil Rights Lawsuit for Transgender Workers Is First of its Kind
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has brought two lawsuits on behalf of transgender workers....

9/29/2014 - Advocates and Legislators Say NFL Corrections Go Wide But Not Deep Enough
Women's rights activists and anti-violence advocates are continuing to put pressure on the National Football League (NFL), calling for a more inclusive and robust institutional response to domestic violence and sexual assault as well as an independent investigation into the League. This summer, NFL executive leadership came under fire after the League failed to take action when video evidence of Ravens' running back Ray Rice punching his then-fiancee surfaced....

9/26/2014 - Michigan Lawmakers Push for Insurance Plans to Offer Abortion Coverage Options
Michigan state legislators are introducing a new bill that would require private health insurance companies to make "abortion riders" available to health care seekers. The proposal is a far cry from reproductive justice advocates' persistent call for integrated health coverage that includes coverage for comprehensive reproductive health care, including abortion services....

9/26/2014 - States Refusing to Expand Medicaid Face Increased Costs and Larger Uninsured Populations
According to new data, seven of the 11 major metropolitan areas with rates of uninsured people higher than the national average are in states that have rejected Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act. According to the US Census Bureau's Community Survey - the nation's most comprehensive data source on American households examining state and local poverty, income, and health insurance statistics - 13 states saw a statistically significant increase in the amount of residents covered by health insurance between 2012 and 2013....

9/25/2014 - New Legislation Would Improve Access to Emergency Contraception for Survivors of Sexual Assault
Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) introduced legislation this week to make emergency contraception more widely available to survivors of sexual assault. The Emergency Contraception Access and Education Act of 2014, co-sponsored by Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and Cory Booker (D-NJ), would require hospitals that receive federal funding - including Catholic hospitals - to tell sexual assault survivors who go to the emergency room that emergency contraception (EC) is available to them and to provide EC to survivors regardless of their ability to pay. Murray has introduced a similar bill every year for more than a decade....

9/25/2014 - CVS Will Refund 11,000 Customers Illegally Charged for Birth Control
CVS has promised to refund around 11,000 women who were illegally charged copays for birth control after Congresswoman Jackie Speier (D-CA) alerted the chain that they were acting in violation of the Affordable Care Act. Speier, a ranking member of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee's Subcommittee on Energy Policy, Health Care, and Entitlements, sent a letter to Larry Merlo, CEO of CVS Health earlier this month after she discovered that the pharmacy was erroneously charging women copays for birth control....

9/24/2014 - Largest-Ever Global Study of Gender in Film Illuminates a Persistent Sexism Problem
The Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media (GDIGM) convened its second annual Global Symposium on Gender in Media Tuesday, issuing the full results of its inaugural study of female depictions in global popular film....